While celebrating this year’s World Teachers’ Day on October 5, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) offered its gratitude and sincere thanks to all teachers in Cambodia and beyond for their efforts in enhancing the quality of education for all students.

In this spirit, the Royal Government of Cambodia is committed to enhancing the quality of education by continuously raising teachers’ qualifications and salaries.

This has been shown in recent pay increases – in 2015, teacher salaries were between 500,000 and 1,200,000 riel; in 2020, teacher salaries are between 1,200,000 and 2,100,000 riel.

The Ministry of Education continues to work with stakeholders, particularly the Ministry of Economy and Finance, to explore possible ways to continue increasing teacher salaries.

Teaching quality remains among the top priorities for MoEYS – as embedded within Education, Youth and Sport reform strategies – as supported by the overarching Rectangular Strategy Phase IV of the sixth mandate of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

The Rectangular Strategy Phase IV sets human resources development as a priority, with MoEYS committed to achieving the objectives of Quality Education, Science and Technology by focusing on seven priorities.

1) Teacher qualifications; 2) expanding the scope of schools at all levels; 3) strengthening comprehensive inspections of Schools Based Management (SBM); 4) promoting technical education at upper secondary schools; 5) skills education for the job market; 6) developing comprehensive curricula and textbooks; and 7) being ready for the Southeast Asian Games that Cambodia is hosting in 2023.

There are two major aspects of strengthening the quality of teachers within Education, Youth and Sport reform strategies of particular focus – the priority of education policy reform in the five-pillar framework and teacher training reform at teacher education institutions.

1. Priority of Education Policy Reforms

Based on the progress of the implementation of educational reform programmes, MoEYS has prioritised educational reform in the following five-pillar framework:

All schools are abiding by the measures introduced by the ministry amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Pillar 1: Implementation of the Teacher Policy Action Plan:

• Continue to motivate high-performing teachers and principals, awarding winners among principals and teachers who perform well, particularly in first grade Khmer and Mathematics;

• Implement a policy on career pathways for teachers;

• Implement a policy on continuous professional development for principals and teachers;

• Continue to develop infrastructure and the capacity of teacher training institutions, and develop the capacity of teacher trainers;

• Strengthen capacity for both in- and pre-service teachers to roll out health education subjects including comprehensive sex education;

• Review teachers’ rationalisation and promote the effective deployment of new teachers.

Pillar 2: Review curricula and textbooks, and improve learning environments:

• Develop core textbooks for all subjects at all education levels;

• Strengthen reading methods and numerical teaching methods in primary schools and strengthen teaching methods for secondary education;

• Increase reading habits in the classroom and library, conduct a national reading day, improve school libraries and create a digital library network at higher education institutions and teacher training institutions;

• Promote the implementation of an education policy on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or digital education;

• Advance the implementation of health education subject including comprehensive sex education;

• Renovate and repair old buildings, build clean-water facilities, washrooms and toilets, as well as science and computer labs.

Pillar 3: Enforcement of inspections:

• Continue training education inspectors, and regularly inspect all 25 provincial education institutions;

• Harmonise inspection tools by integrating the child-friendly schools measuring tool and school-based management monitoring tool;

• Conduct thematic inspections on key topics related to education reform;

• Strengthen the internal inspection system based on school self-assessment and the preparation and implementation of regular internal inspections;

• Carry out external inspections, based on thematic and regular inspections at the provincial level;

• Use the inspection results to improve curricula, Pre-Service Teacher Training (PRESET) and In-Service Teacher Training (INSET), and various management tasks;

• Develop staff capacity in preparing evaluations and testing, and analysing results;

• Develop and train new educational inspectors and principals on the internal and external inspection system.

Pillar 4: Improve learning evaluations:

• Continue to strengthen all types of exams, especially lower and upper secondary;

• Disseminate a framework for evaluating student achievement in pre-primary and general education;

• Strengthen national assessment testing at Grades 3, 6, 8 and 11 in Khmer, Mathematics and Physics;

• Carry out student achievement assessments of primary school students using the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metric for Grade 5;

• Participate in the International Student Assessment Programme (PISA 2021).

Pillar 5: Higher education reform:

• Increase resources for training in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Creativity and Mathematics in response to the implementation of Cambodia’s Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025;

• Establish funding for research;

• Improve the accreditation system of higher education institutions (HEIs) and monitor training at HEIs;

• Promote access to higher education with equity and inclusion, and instil life-long learning;

• Allocate a package of funding for HEIs with priority training programmes to meet economic and social development;

• Build dormitories to promote access and equity in higher education;

• Improve teaching and learning capacity in higher education;

• Develop a curriculum that responds to economic, digital and social development;

• Increase the number of professors with doctoral degrees by 20 per cent, and 60 per cent for master’s degrees.

2. Teacher Training Reform at Teacher Education Institutions

MoEYS is also developing teacher capacity and teacher education centres with a focus on the following:

MoEYS has given top priority to developing teacher capacity.

• Review teacher training programmes at National Institute of Education, Teacher Education College (TEC) and Regional Teacher Training Centre (RTTC), and ensure training equivalence, especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), ICT and foreign languages;

• Strengthen the capacity of trainers on subject-based knowledge, teaching methods and ICT;

• Review the operation of provincial TTCs;

• Conduct training on school leadership and for school principals;

• Improve infrastructure and equip colleges with teaching materials for efficient training;

• Develop teachers with quality, competency and accountability in line with the code of conduct, and provide required conditions for effective and efficient performance;

• Develop physical infrastructure to meet the requirements of the Teacher Education Professional Standards;

• Transform RTTCs into high-quality TECs;

• Strengthen the functioning of teacher development centres to provide continuous professional development;

• Promote development by establishing a clear career pathway; promote position and rank based on performance; update the payroll scale through a policy on educational professional development, with a master plan on continuous professional development (systematic in-service teacher training (INSET)/on-service teacher training (ONSET) prepared in a coordinated manner. The INSET/ONSET budget will be incorporated in the school operational budget;

• Review the criteria for recruiting teachers, following the formula for pre-school teachers 12+2;

• Modernise the standards of teacher training programmes to meet national needs and to be competitive regionally and globally by developing teacher education provider standards and teacher educational standard assessments. Develop a policy on TECs, create a master plan on the development of TECs by revising the terms of reference/names, and the mapping of TTCs to become TECs;

• Develop INSET and ONSET at TECs;

• Develop a teacher management system and assess teacher performance.